First, the bad news: Naples, Italy has a diffuse network of buses, trams, subway lines, regional trains and funiculars that make up its public transportation system, and getting the hang of using it can be daunting to first-time visitors. Now, the good news: tourists in Naples will very likely only need to use a limited part of the system—the buses or trams, and subway and funicular lines that transport you to the city's main sights. This guide to public transportation in Naples will walk you through the basics of using the system, including how to get out to the archaeological sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
How to Use the Metro, Funicular, Bus, and Tram in Naples
The first thing visitors to Naples should know is that the city is, for the most part walkable. Its main sights are concentrated between the seaport and the Centro Storico (historic center), with a few outlying sights that require a taxi or public transport. So once you've stashed your luggage at your hotel, you can set off on foot.
But if you're carrying a lot of luggage or prefer to ride instead of walk, here are the basics for using the system, which is administered by UnicoCampania. (Note: their website isn't very helpful.) All public transportation within city limits—including buses, trams, Metro, and funiculars—are covered by the same ticket or travel pass.
- Map: Familiarize yourself with this transit map, which includes the main tourist sites.
- Fares: A TIC ticket costs 1.50 euros and is valid for 90 minutes from validation, including transfers
- Different Types of Passes: Single TIC tickets (1.50 euros, 90 mins.); Daily TIC (4.50 euros, good until 11:59 p.m. on the day of validation); Weekly TIC (15.80 euros, good until 11:59 of the 7th day validation).
- Sightseeing Passes: The Naples Pass (also called the Campania ArteCard) is available in 3- or 7-day increments, and includes unlimited public transportation and free or discounted admission to most major attractions—including Pompeii and Herculaneum—either within metropolitan Naples or the broader Campania region. Priced from 42 euros.
- How to Pay: Regular TIC tickets can be purchased at tabacchi (tobacco stores), news kiosks, and from machines at Metro and funicular stations and at some bus stops. Machines will usually take credit cards; tabacchi and newsstands will not.
- Hours of Operation: Keep in mind that as cities around the world go, Naples' public transport closes up early. Metro and buses start from between 6 and 6:20 a.m., and run until anywhere from 9:15 to 11:40 p.m., depending on the line. All Metros close by 11 p.m.
- Ticket Validation: TIC tickets must be validated when you board the bus, by inserting the ticket in the machine, which stamps the date and time. Day and weeklong passes can be validated the same way. In Metros and funiculars, your TIC or pass is validated when you go through the turnstile.
- Travel Routes/Subway Lines: There are three Metro lines, including Line 1, which runs from Napoli Centrale train station, swings down near the waterfront, passes along the Centro Storico, and stops at the National Archaeological Museum. Line 2 connects the central station to Chiaia, Mergellina, and Pozzuoli. There are four funicular lines including Funicolare Centrale, which climbs from Piazza Augusteo (near Galleria Umberto I) up to Piazza Fugo, stepping off point for Castel Sant'Elmo and the San Martino complex. Buses and trams rumble through the Centro and are marked on the transit map.
- Accessibility: According to ANM (the agency that manages Naples' Metro, funiculars, and buses), 80 percent of the network is accessible to travelers with mobility issues. Still, Naples itself is a challenging city for travelers with disabilities, making taxis and private, wheelchair-friendly tours an attractive option.
Airport Buses and Shuttles
Buses to central Naples are available 50 meters from the airport entrance. The C3 line connects to Napoli Centrale for €4. Alibus service travels to several points in central Naples, including the train station, from where you can catch Metros, trams and buses. Alibus costs €5 one-way and buses run every 15-20 minutes from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm. Tickets should be purchased at the Alibus counter in the arrivals hall or at machines in the airport.
Ferries and Hydrofoil
Piazza Municipio (reachable by Metro Line 1) is adjacent to the Port of Naples (Porto di Napoli), also referred to as Molo Beverello, where ferries high-speed hydrofoils connect to Capri, Ischia, and Procida islands. There are also boats to Sorrento and seasonal lines to Positano and other points on the Amalfi Coast. Note that some hydrofoils depart from Mergellina, which can be reached by Metro Line 2 (Mergellina stop) or a number of buses.
The train for Herculaneum, Pompeii and Sorrento, called the Circumvesuviana line, departs from the lower level of Napoli Centrale station—just follow the signs. You'll technically leave from Garibaldi Station, but you never have to leave the main train station to reach the platform. You'll want the Napoli-Sorrento route.
Taxis are a clean and reasonably-priced option in Naples. They usually can't be hailed from the street but instead have to be picked up at taxi stands around the city—typically near touristed areas and transport hubs. For ordering a taxi, reputable companies include Consortaxi, Consorzio Taxi Napoli, and Radio Taxi La Partenope.
Given the hectic traffic, pedestrian crowds, narrow streets, and motorbikes buzzing about everywhere, we do not recommend trying to rent or ride a bike in Naples.
If you're arriving to Naples by rental car and want to keep the car for the rest of your journey, park it once you get to Naples and don't turn the ignition again until you're ready to leave the city. Check ahead that your hotel has on-site or nearby parking, and get explicit driving directions for how to reach the lot. With the ease of walking and the availability of public transport and taxis in Naples, there's absolutely no reason to drive from place to place in the city.
Naples' Art Stations
We alluded before to Naples' beautiful Metro stations—part of a program called "Art Stations" that creates permanent art installations in Naples' Metro stations and other transit stops. Through a mix of light, tiles and mosaic installations, sculptures and optical illusions, Art Stations transform these otherwise banal spaces into stunning art spaces. The most astounding of these is Toledo station (pictured above), but Garibaldi, Museo, Materdei, and Salvator Rosa are also top contenders that are worth going out of your way to see.
Tips for Getting Around Naples
- Remember that most public transit in Naples shuts down by 11 p.m. If you're out on the town and don't feel like calling it a night, make a plan for how you're getting back to your hotel.
- Naples is highly walkable, especially the Centro Storico and the areas around the waterfront. Before you search for a bus or Metro station, check a map to see how quickly you can walk to where you need to go.